The situation between the US and an nuclear armed ME antagonist has deteriorated to a point that everyone quietly suspects war is going to come. The US, two years prior to the current time sent a staffed mission to Callisto (Jupiter's best moon for a colony). The justification I have for this mission is shaky. Originally, it was a show of tech superiority in the hopes it would quell tensions (they were bad, but not as bad as they are now). I'm thinking of possibly two other justifications: 1. The mission was a genuine attempt to start a colony, hopefully to save a few hundred people. The problem arises in that they wouldn't need to go all the way to Jupiter for this. They could start one on Mars (still needs to be distant enough that no one sends nukes to the moon). So, I would need to move the protagonist to Mars. 2. They detected the protagonist of the story somehow (energy emission, light refraction, whatever) and sent a mission to investigate for something worth exploiting for themselves. This might work because I'm going to have the protagonist reveal to the main character she made a half hearted attempt to conceal herself.